Westmont Volleyball (22-6) ran into a buzzsaw in the GSAC Championship on Saturday, ultimately losing in three sets to William Jessup (17-9). William Jessup, who is advancing to their first NAIA National Tournament in program history, out-scored top-seeded Westmont 75-48 en route to the sweep.
“We’re still proud of our team,” said Westmont head coach Ruth McGolpin. “Obviously, the scoreboard didn’t go the way we wanted, but we showed fight in games one and three. Tonight, running the 5-1 was tough.
“Still, our women fought to the end, and we are proud of them.”
In the first set, Keelyn Kistner opened the night on a four-point service run, allowing Westmont the first chance to grab momentum. In a quick turnaround, however, Jessup went on a 15-7 run, forcing McGolpin to call timeout trailing 15-11.
Three service aces kick-started the run for Jessup, which bought time for their attackers to arrive and put Westmont on their heels. At the time of McGolpin’s final timeout, Jessup had collected 15 kills with an attack percentage of .464, leading to 22-14 advantage. Moments later, Jessup capped off a tone-setting 25-16 win.
Four attacking errors from Westmont combined with five kills from Jessup put Westmont on the ropes early in set two, with McGolpin calling timeout trailing 9-4. Matters grew only worse following the first timeout, as Westmont’s fifth and sixth attacking errors of the set put Jessup up 16-7. At that point, McGolpin called her final timeout, but the stoppage did little to slow Jessup, who took the second set in commanding fashion by a score of 25-11.
During set two, Westmont had only seven kills compared to nine attacking errors in 31 attempts, ultimately leading to an attack percentage of -.065. On the other end, Jessup collected 10 kills with a hitting percentage of .348.
The third set saw Westmont play their most competitive game yet, leading into double-digits at 11-9. Then, a kill by Jessup followed by three consecutive Westmont attacking errors forced McGolpin to once again call timeout, this time trailing 13-11.
McGolpin called her final timeout of the match with Westmont trailing 19-15, giving her team one final chance to regroup. Minutes later however, Jessup stormed the court following a 25-21 win, and their first GSAC Championship in program history.
“That’s a good team over there,” said McGolpin of the tournament champions. “They will represent the GSAC well. They were flawless today- they passed well, they hit well, they served well- they did it all. Kudos to William Jessup. I hope they go far in nationals.”
On Monday morning, the NAIA National Tournament Selection Show will take place at 8 a.m. From there, it will be revealed if Westmont has earned a host bid, or if they will be sent on the road for the NAIA Opening Round.
Either way, on Saturday, Nov. 19, Westmont will play for the right to return to Sioux City, Iowa.
“The page is already turned,” said a forward-looking McGolpin. “Even though we didn’t win this game, we’re still GSAC Regular Season Champs, and we should feel proud moving forward.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.